Sites of Interest
Immerse yourself in Acapulco’s atmospheric love affair with its past
There is one attraction that no first time visitor to Acapulco should miss; the Cliff Divers of La Quebrada. These are the living icons of Acapulco, risking their lives daily by diving from a height of 131 feet into a tiny inlet only 23 feet wide and 13 feet deep.
Back in 1948, when Johnny Wesimuller was filming Tarzan and the Mermaids, he took time out to watch the Quebrada divers. There was going to be a cliff diving scene in the movie and Weismuller figured he’d catch a few pointers. The leader of the divers made a dive with lit torches and then challenged Weismuller to give it a try. Weismuller got up to give it a go – he felt he had to save face and accept the challenge. Luckily he was pulled back from the dive by one of the execs on the film – if Johnny was hurt filming would be shut down and hundreds of people would be out of work. Weismuller was so relieved he let out a mighty Tarzan yell, thrilling the diners a La Perla.
It’s a thrilling show watching the divers first pray before a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe to then hurl themselves from the cliff, timing their dives perfectly between breaking waves. For an extra dash of excitement, catch the nighttime show, which culminates in a diver holding lit torches as he plunges into the sea. It costs only a few dollars to watch the show from an observation deck, but if you want to make like a charter member of Sinatra’s Rat Pack reserve a ringside table at the Mirador Hotel Acapulco’s La Perla restaurant, where you’ll have a prime view of the divers in an ambience redolent of the 1950s.
The Fort of San Diego was a major player in Acapulco’s history. It was the line of defense in the city against marauding pirates and later played a key role in the Mexican Revolution. Touring the fort’s grounds and walls affords breathtaking views of Acapulco Bay. You can also get a crash course in Acapulco history by visiting the on-site History Museum of Acapulco.
The Casa de la Mascara, or House of Masks has over 1,000 masks from Mexico as well as other parts of the world. You’ll tour through rooms designated “Devils and Death” or the Huichols and the Jaguar.” Admission to the museum is free. It’s only steps away from the Fort of San Diego in the Traditional Zone, making it easy to combine the two.
Acapulco’s deeply shaded El Zocalo (main square) is a nice option for soaking up some local color and getting a light meal or snack at one of the al fresco restaurants. Make sure to note the La Catedral Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, dating from the 1930s.
The archeological zone of Tehuacalco is a little further afield, being an hour drive to the north, but it’s worth a trip for those interested in the region’s Pre-Hispanic Yope Indian past. Your tour will explain the Yopes fierce heritage (they were never conquered by the Aztecs) and you’ll have a chance to see the remains of a ball court, living quarters, a temple, pyramids, petroglyphs and sun cult caves.